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Want to Brick an iPhone? Set its Date to January 1, 1970

Sure, the 1970s may seem glamorous according to a show like Vinyl, which emphasizes the visceral thrill of all that “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” stuff, but this is 2016 dang it! And that means Facebook comments from your mom and hoverboards that explode with a vengeance. And if you dare try to recapture the coolness of the 1970s by switching the date back on your iPhone, it will conk out like a wasted Boogie Nights extra at a pool party.

According to Reddit user vista980622, “When the date of a 64-bit iOS device is set to January 1, 1970, the device will fail to boot.” In other words, if you set the date to January 1, 1970 on your iPhone and then restart it, goodbye iPhone. You can watch the process above, although those who are on the more timid side, be warned: you will see a phone die. Don’t try this at home.

Those who’ve looked into the bug believe it’s due to the fact that the iPhone uses Unix time, which describes time, using the number of seconds that have elapsed since 00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Thursday, 1 January 1970. Because Unix time began at 00:00:00 on January 1, 1970 (an arbitrary date set by the inventors of Unix time), if you set your phone to a time before then, the phone needs to deal in negative numbers. And while this should be no problem (Unix should be able to represent times before January 1, 1970 by using negatively signed integers), for some reason, in this case, it bricks the iPhone.

It doesn’t seem totally hopeless for the bugged iPhones however, as another Reddit user said that Apple has been made aware of the issue, and is able to fix it by disconnecting and then reconnecting the phone’s battery. Although it’s unclear if personal data is saved even if the phone can be brought back online. Regardless, don’t try this at home. Seriously, your iPhone will crash after powering off. And the same way Richie Finestra needs his cocaine, we need our phones.

What do you think about this iPhone bug? Let us know in the comments section below!

HT: CNN Money

Image: Zach Straley

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